A Fire that is Unquenchable

Abul Kasem

Any reader, having the slightest conscience could not but be unnerved by reading the five episodes of ‘Hishab Milena, Uttor Paina' ( Part1  Part2  Part3  Part4  Part5 ). Many readers have dismissed his language of outburst of emotion as tasteless, improper and unkind. It is true that he has used extremely coarse language to raise the ire in a section of Bangladeshi people of a particular religion. However, I do not think that his intention was to lump all the Muslims as the scum of society. His is extremely distraught, severely shaken and utterly in pain reminiscing some horrible chapters of minority persecution perpetrated by his own flesh and blood (I mean Bengali). I may not like the use of his coarse language, but I must concur with what he had written to be very much true. Why? It is because, I myself, had the experience to witness the hapless condition of the Chakma and other tribal people. This happened around 1972-73, immediately after the liberation of Bangladesh. During this period, I was posted as a site engineer to supervise the survey work for Karnaphuli irrigation project encompassing some major rivers and tributaries running around Chittagong Hill Tract district. My daily site supervision used to take me to places like, Bandarban, Rangamati…etc. Poverty in Bangladesh is endemic, but witnessing the dire poverty and the miserable living conditions of these Hill Tract tribal people was absolutely disturbing. I could not believe that a section of Bangladeshi people could endure such degrading living style. However, it was the charming smile and their affable nature that impressed me most. During that time, there was very little signs of religious persecution or land grabbing incidence sanctioned by the Bangladesh Government, although I came to learn from some of my local staff that the Government was drawing up a plan to resettle some Bengali in those mountain regions. My stint with these innocent natives was very short. Nevertheless, I always remember their good-natured greetings, hospitality and the infectious smiles they always offered me whenever I chanced to meet them.

It breaks my heart when I read the stories of mindless persecution that is inflicted on our minority population, mostly by the Islamic goons. Staying in an infidel country as a minority within a minority (that is, a microscopic minority), I, sometimes wonder, what could I do, if suddenly, these infidels attack me or say, my neighbor starts vilifying me, knowing quite well, from my name that I could belong to Islam. But no, nothing has happened to me. No one has ever asked me where did come from, what is my name, what is my religion, where do I live……….? Imagine now, if I were a Buddhist/Hindu/Christian surviving in an Islamic Paradise. I would certainly be subjected to the torment that Mr Barua has described so vividly. It is a shame on us, the entire Bangladeshi Muslims that we have failed miserably to protect the minimum rights of our own flesh and blood who, by chance, happen to belong to another religion that Islam hates to accommodate. Mind you, historical records show that most Bangladeshis were Buddhists before Islam was imposed on them through various means.

Let us look at the mirror. Let us look at our past. What do we see? Do we see how Pakistani Islamic army had treated us? Don’t you think that our army, in cooperation with the Islamic Jihadists, has indeed taken up the role of tormentor to these tribal people just as what Pakistani army did to us? Don’t you think that Islam has something to do with it? Don’t you realize that our armed force is now infested with the Islamic Jihadists? Where do they get their motivation from? Think of it. It will be foolish not to realize that the Islamists have a grand plan. The plan is to uproot the native people from their ancestral lands and establish Islamic paradise, first in this hill district. That is why most clandestine Islamic Terrorists training camps are located here.

In his heart, Mr Barua has a fire. It is the same fire that I still possess deep inside me, the unquenchable fire that was kindled when my parents, my brother and my sisters were gravely humiliated by the Islamic Jawans of Pakistan army. How could I forget and forgive? How could I ever reconcile when I vividly recollect those tormenting days of absolute terror! No, this fire will burn forever until all the perpetrators who had tormented my parents, tried to violate my mother and sisters and threatened to kill my brother are brought to justice.

Has Bangladesh no conscience? Has Bangladesh forgotten its past? It is a shame on us. We do not deserve this freedom when we repeat what the Pakistan army did to us.

No, Br. Barua can never forget and forgive, for sure.

Beware of the rage and the revenge of a patient man.

PS: It is very rare that I express my comment on any article/essay. But Mr. Barua compelled me to pen this short rejoinder. I am sorry that I could not write it in Bengali as I do not have the appropriate software.


Abul Kasen writes from Sydney. 

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